1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Orthodoxy & Catholicism

Discussion in 'Orthodox Christian DIR' started by Christ's Lamb, Feb 26, 2015.

  1. Christ's Lamb

    Christ's Lamb ~Catholic Mystic~

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2014
    Messages:
    63
    Ratings:
    +14
    I am a Roman Catholic, but my grandfathers side of the family are Orthodox Christians. Recently I have been studying Orthodoxy, due to the fact that the church, which my great-great grandfather help build, is celebrating its 100th anniversary and I'm helping out with things that need to be done for the celebration. I have noticed something's that are odd for a catholic, such as while reading the writings of the church councils it stated that "the bishops should not interfere with the jurisdiction of another bishop" or something to that effect.

    I also have been studying Orthodox Spirituality, which is far greater and more attractive than Catholic Spirituality. So, I have a few questions:

    1. What role should the Bishop of Rome play in the church?
    2. What exactly happened when Adam and Eve ate the fruit, and to what extant did this event have on the rest of humanity?
    3. If the Agustinian view of Orginal Sin is wrong, than why do we need redeeming?
    4. If predestination is wrong, then do you believe God doesn't have foreknowledge of future events?

    Thanks and God bless!
     
  2. lovemuffin

    lovemuffin τὸν ἄρτον τοῦ ἔρωτος

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2015
    Messages:
    1,016
    Ratings:
    +829
    Religion:
    the celestial orb of bliss
    1) You mentioned jurisdictions. The structure of the eastern orthodox communion is something like a federation of national churches, where each church is autonomous in terms of ecclesiastical authority (ordination of bishops and priests, and etc) but they are in communion in the sense that they share the same orthodox doctrines and typically an orthodox person from one church is fully welcome in any of them. The model of the so-called ecumenical councils is that they are ecumenical because they include bishops from all the autonomous churches, and conciliar in that each bishop gets a vote. No bishop has more authority as far as deciding questions of the council than others, although certain national churches were considered to be deserving of specific honorary titles and honors that were more ceremonial or procedural. So if the roman church were to be in communion with the orthodox churches, he would play much the same role as he does now, i.e as the head of the roman church, but he would not have authority to determine canons or dogma or other church rules universally, since those can only be done by councils

    2) I think various orthodox patristic authors have given parts of the genesis story more or less allegorical or spiritualized readings, but without commenting on that, the orthodox believe similarly to catholics that the eating of the fruit and the fall of Adam symbolically (which does not mean "unreal") entails the corruption of human nature, its propensity towards sin and its subjection to death. That corruption of nature is redeemed in Christ's death and resurrection. It is sometimes said that the orthodox don't believe in the Augustinian "original sin", and usually what is meant is that the orthodox view does not entail an individual being personally guilty for Adam's sin, but only that we suffer the consequences of the corruption of human nature brought about in the fall. However, there are good arguments that this misrepresents the latin view and that there isn't much practical difference between the catholic and orthodox positions

    3) See above

    4) Predestination seems to have multiple meanings or interpretations in Calvinism where it is prevalent. I'm not sure what the catholic view is, and I'm not aware of any orthodox dogma that argues that predestination in the sense of foreknowledge is wrong. Like others, the orthodox tend to distinguish between the idea of predestination in the sense of it being predetermined on an individual basis who is "saved" and it being predestined by God that there would be a church of God. See for example: St. George Orthodox Christian Church - Predestination in Orthodox Christian Teaching
     
    • Like Like x 2
  3. justfoolingaround

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2015
    Messages:
    17
    Ratings:
    +5
    Religion:
    Christianity
    1. As I have little knowledge about church hierarchy, I may not be qualified enough to answer this question.
    2. Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and they disobeyed God's law. From that moment on, human nature became "unholy". We inherited that "unholiness" and we are living in a sinful world. Different from Catholics, Ortodoxy teaches that people inherit just the consequences of that event.(physical and spiritual death, tendency to sin, etc.) whereas Catholics teaches that humans inherit both guilt and consequences. So, briefly I can say that not much changes practically.
    3. For nearly the same reasons with Catholicism. God doesn't want us to be perished in hell but experience eternal bliss.
    4. Actually, predestination is interpreted in the same way in Orthodoxy as in Catholicism. There are many that are called upon to believe in Christ, but ones who are answering that call is very few.

    P.S. I personally believe that Genesis and some other parts of the Old Testament can be symbolic to summarize our relationship with God.
    P.S. 2: According to Orthodoxy, human nature is not fully corrupted.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. Shiranui117

    Shiranui117 Pronounced Shee-ra-noo-ee
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Messages:
    5,083
    Ratings:
    +2,265
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox Christian
    Great questions! well named and justfoolingaround have already given good answers. I'll weigh in on this as well when I have time later tonight, after I go to class, church and get something to eat.
     
    #4 Shiranui117, Feb 26, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2015
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Shiranui117

    Shiranui117 Pronounced Shee-ra-noo-ee
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Messages:
    5,083
    Ratings:
    +2,265
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox Christian
    Alright, now that I have some time...

    It's great that you are helping out with the celebration! That must truly be an honor for you to have that connection with the church of your grandfather.

    Yes, there are canons that state the extent of bishops' jurisdictions in the Ecumenical Councils--the Roman Church had jurisdiction over Italy, the Church of Alexandria had jurisdiction over Egypt, the Asian churches had jurisdiction over their territory, etc. There are also canons that have to do with a bishop asking permission to enter into the territory of another bishop, the movement and reassignment of priests from one diocese to another, and things like that.

    I also have been studying Orthodox Spirituality, which is far greater and more attractive than Catholic Spirituality. So, I have a few questions:

    He should have a primacy of honor, and be the first among equals--he is not superior to any other Patriarch. Currently the Patriarchs of the Eastern Catholic Churches are all subservient to Rome, which runs completely contrary to the history of the Church before the Great Schism.

    The Pope does have the authority to hear appeals from other churches--as is the case when Eutyches tried to vindicate himself after being condemned by the Church of Constantinople, and the Archbishop of Constantinople also wrote to the Pope to give his own version of events and to get the Pope's opinion. However, the Pope never enjoyed universal jurisdiction or supremacy in the early Church. The Pope also never convened a single Ecumenical Council during the first thousand years of Christian history. From a historical perspective, and from the viewpoint of the Orthodox Church, the Pope can be likened to an older brother who sometimes referees the disputes of the younger brothers, but he is not their father.

    The Pope can act as the mouthpiece of the Church, but he is not infallible. The Pope defends the unity of the Faith and therefore the unity of the Church, but he is not (as many Catholics claim) the source of the Church's unity. He has a primacy in the Church, but he is not supreme. He can, contrary to the decrees of Vatican I, in fact be overridden by ecumenical councils, and we see this happening on more than one occasion during the seven ecumenical councils.

    St. John Chrysostom has an entire series of homilies on Genesis, and the sermons that address this topic specifically are homilies 16 and 17. Essentially, they had been living in a more or less angelic existence before they ate of the Tree. The reason they felt naked after they ate from the tree is because God's grace, which once clothed them, departed from them. Adam and Eve cut themselves off from God, Who is Life, and so they fell into death. They cut themselves off from God, Who is Light, and fell into the darkness of sin. As Romans says, from Adam on, we all were born enslaved to sin and death. We all have the tendency to sin, and our free will and our mind are both stunted by sinful impulses. Unlike Augustine and the later Reformers, though, we maintain that humanity remained fundamentally good, but wounded. The Calvinists and Lutherans flat-out said that humanity is completely and totally depraved, and that we have no ability whatsoever to choose God or anything good. We Orthodox, however, have said for 2,000 years that we are full well and able to choose God and to choose good, otherwise God would have never exhorted us to repentance; He would have simply taken us over like automatons.

    The reason the tree of knowledge of good and evil is called that, is because it was after Adam and Eve ate from the tree that they experienced firsthand the corruption and horrific reality of sin. They knew right from wrong beforehand. Actually, according to St. John Chrysostom, they knew the difference between right and wrong even better than we do, because they had no sin. But Adam and Eve were careless towards God's commandments, and so fell into sin. And just as the children of slaves are slaves themselves, so we are born into the slavery into which Adam and Eve had fallen.

    We need redeeming because we sin just as Adam and Eve did, and we suffer from the effects of their sin--physically, spiritually and mentally. We do not, however, bear the guilt of their sins (Scripture says that a son shall not be guilty for the sins of his father), nor do we have some sort of legalistic debt that needs to be paid to God. We are, however, alienated from God, and we cannot save ourselves. In order to repair the rift in the relationship between us and God, the Lord Jesus Christ our God became man to unite His Divinity to our humanity, that by sharing in our earthly life and death, we might share in His Resurrection and heavenly Life.

    The Calvinist idea of predestination states that things will happen because God knows about them. We Orthodox state that God knows about things because they will happen. A homily by one of our bishops elucidates our position on the matter quite well, and I found it very enlightening.

    A few excerpts...

    "For us it is sufficient to know these two clear, understandable, basic precepts: first, God desires that we be saved, for He loves mankind. Second, we can be saved, for we are free. Thus, the will of God and the desire of man make up predestination. God desires, and if man desires also, then he or she is already predestined."

    By the mouth of Isaiah God promises: If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land (Isaiah 1: 19). Would it not be the utmost injustice if God desired that all people conform to His law on the one hand, while on the other He did not desire salvation universally for all? Would He then predestine one portion for salvation and presentence the other to torment? Does He demand that all serve Him equally, yet does not desire to give all equal recompense? No! God is just, He is Justice itself. In giving the law to all, He wills all men to be saved (I Tim. 2:4), as says the Apostle. St. Ambrose explains, "that having granted the law to all, He excludes no one from His kingdom."

    This desire of God, in and of itself, is not sufficient for the salvation of man. It is only like the pillar of fire which showed the way for the Jews in the desert. It shows the way, but does not force one along the way to salvation. God calls. Yet it is necessary that man listen. The will of God is only one wing. A second wing is necessary for flight to the heavens. This is our will. The will of God and the will of man join to form predestination. God desires; if man desires also, then he is already on the road to salvation.

    Well, and what if I were to tell you that it was already predestined, that it was already decided that you were either saved or would perish? Is it then possible that because of this you no longer need to go to church, or you no longer need to turn to your spiritual father for help, or that you will no longer try to fulfill Christian duties, no longer repent, do nothing on your own and simply wait for either salvation or condemnation? In such a case you would be the most foolish person. Take another look in the mirror, would you please. Today you are healthy and the mirror shows your fine appearance. Tomorrow you may be ill, then it will show your sickly appearance. When you are well again, it will again show the first. Just as your face changes its appearance, so the mirror changes your image. Now then, when you live a God-pleasing life, God foresees you in paradise. Tomorrow if you sin, God will foreordain you for torment. You again repent again you are foreordained for salvation. As you change your life, so God changes His decision. God's judgement conforms to our will and conforms to our disposition.

    This is the view of St. Gregory of Nyssa: "The righteous judgement of God takes into consideration our disposition. He grants to us according to our inner feelings." A mirror, which reflects both the beautiful and the horrid, does not make them so. Likewise the foreknowledge of God, in which one is predestined for paradise, and another is condemned to torment, in actuality does not force one to salvation and the other to condemnation. "Foreknowledge of God, the Theologian tells us, is intuitive and not active." This means that you are saved or condemned, not because God foresees your salvation or condemnation, but that either by your good works you cooperated with God's grace and God foresees your salvation, or that by your evil deeds you avoid the grace of God and will suffer for it, and God foresees your torment. Thus Judas betrayed Christ not because Christ foresaw his betrayal, but rather Christ foresaw the betrayal of Judas because he intended to betray Christ. Ibis is how the wise Justin, philosopher and martyr speaks about this: "The cause of future events is not foreknowledge, but foreknowledge is the result of future events. The future does not flow forth from foreknowledge, but foreknowledge from the future. It is not Christ who is the cause of the betrayal of Judas. But the betrayal is the cause of the Lord's foreknowledge." If you live in a way which is pleasing to God, you will be saved. If you lead a corrupt life you will perish. God foresees both the first and the second. But neither the first nor the second predetermine God's foreknowledge. You will either be saved or perish. One of these is definitely true, yet not determined beforehand.

    Here's another example: The King Hezekiah became ill. God destines him to die and sends the prophet Isaiah to say: Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live (II Kings 20: 1). The unfortunate Hezekiah turns his face to the wall, sighs, cries, pleads. What are you doing, oh hapless king?! Has not God appointed you to death? Is it not in vain that you cry and plead? Can one whom God has ordained to die, live? Does God's decision change? Yes, brothers and sisters, this determination also changed! God had pity on the tears of Hezekiah and determined that he live. He even granted him fifteen years of life. Thus saith the Lord. I will add unto thy days fifteen years (II Kings 20:5,6).

    May God bless you in your ways! If ever you have questions about Orthodoxy, feel free to make another thread or PM me. :)
     
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Elusive Truth

    Elusive Truth Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2015
    Messages:
    136
    Ratings:
    +7
    I don't understand this, the concept of God's voice on earth.

    is this correct?

    Is that really necessary? is anybody more or less in contact with the divine?

    The Pope may not even be among those chosen for heaven...
     
  7. Elusive Truth

    Elusive Truth Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2015
    Messages:
    136
    Ratings:
    +7
    The Antiochian Archdioces not long ago achieved self-rule status.

    I am interested in this church because it was the first place where people were called Christians and the first martyr St Stephen. It appears the persecutions there sparked off an explosion of Christianity in the Greco-Roman Hellenistic Pagan World.

    Do you know anything about this group?

    Is their Metropolitan like the Pope?

    PS; nice avatar there :)
     
  8. Shiranui117

    Shiranui117 Pronounced Shee-ra-noo-ee
    Premium Member

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2012
    Messages:
    5,083
    Ratings:
    +2,265
    Religion:
    Eastern Orthodox Christian
    The Metropolitan of the Antiochian Orthodox Archdiocese of North America is more like an archbishop. Even though the Antiochian Archdiocese is self-ruled, they are still under the Patriarch of Antioch, and part of the wider Antiochian Orthodox Church that exists in the UK, Australia and the Middle East (they may have parishes on the Western European Continent, but probably not many).

    You can read about the Antiochian Archdiocese on their website here.
     
Loading...